Teachers and parents have a special responsibility for looking
after young people, and that includes helping them if they
are being bullied at school. But adults cannot do this without
help from young people. When someone is bullied at school,
other young people who are not directly involved usually know
what is going on. Even though they are not involved they could
help people who are being bullied. They could encourage them
to talk to an adult or could offer to talk to an adult on
their behalf. They might be able to let bullies know that
they do not like what they are doing and that they are determined
to see it stop.
All members of a school
community, young and old, have a responsibility to help people
who are being bullied and to speak out against bullying behaviour.
should young people help?
There are lots of reasons why young people should help schools
- They might want to
help a friend, or someone else they know, who is being bullied.
- Some have been bullied
themselves in the past and want to stop it happening to
- They may realise
that anyone can be bullied - if bullying is not challenged
it may be their turn to be victims next.
- Taking part in anti-bullying
activities can be enjoyable and worthwhile.
- People who watch
bullying but do nothing (they are called bystanders) help
the bullies by providing them with an audience. Who wants
to be accused of helping bullies? Being cruel isn't cool
is a great slogan devised in Keith Grammar School.
if it isn't taken seriously?
If your school is one of those where bullying is still not
taken seriously enough there are things that young people
can do to help raise awareness of the problem. Anyone can
do this. You just need to be determined to make things change.
Some school students
have helped by carrying out questionnaire surveys which can
help to show where bullying is happening and how many people
are involved. Others have found out about different anti-bullying
strategies by reading books and sending away for information.
It is best if you can do this as part of the normal activities
of the school. Subjects like English, Modern Studies, Religious
Studies and PSE (Personal and Social Education) may provide
opportunities for work like this. Once your report is ready
you could show it to the head teacher, the student council
or the school board. This should help everybody to understand
that bullying needs to be taken seriously, and that something
can be done about it.
leave it to others
If young people leave it all to adults, the problem will never
go away. You can help to make your school a better place for
everyone, and learn some useful skills at the same time, by
joining in with activities like those listed on this sheet.
- Bully boxes have
been set up in some schools. Young people can put notes
in these if they are too worried to speak openly about bullying.
If your school has boxes like this use them sensibly. Always
make sure that anything you write about has really happened.
- Be a buddy to a younger
pupil. Older pupils can sometimes volunteer to help new
pupils coming into their school by getting to know them
and by helping them with any problems.
- Special campaigns,
such as a "no-bullying day", can help.
- Some schools have
student or pupil councils. You can ask the council to discuss
bullying, even if you are not a member.
- Counselling is a
special way of talking to someone. People who are being
bullied, or who are bullying others can be helped by counselling,
but only if the counsellor (usually an adult) has had training.
- Some schools have
set up peer counselling schemes where young people volunteer
to learn how to help other young people.
- Mediation - some
schools have introduced schemes where two people who disagree
about something agree that a third person, who may be either
an adult or another young person, helps to find a solution
to a problem. This is helpful in many situations, - but
not in all cases of bullying. A bully may refuse to take
part because he or she has no interest in ending the bullying.
A victim may feel that a negotiated solution is not fair
when it is the other person who is entirely in the wrong.
- Taking part in plays
and other drama activities can help people to understand
what it feels like to be bullied and to think about what
they can do to stop it.
- Peer Support (or
Tutoring) is an idea, developed in Australia, in which older
students volunteer to discuss things like bullying, friendship
or drugs with groups of younger pupils.
- The Anti-Bullying
Network website has a special section for young people and
a "Questions and Answers" section packed with
facts about bullying. Go back to our homepage
and surf some of the other sections.
site has an article written by Scotland's Commissioner
for Children and Young People entitled, Bullying Has No
Place in Scottish Schools.
website includes very useful information about peer
Any comments about this
information sheet should be directed to the Anti-Bullying
Network. It may be photocopied or reproduced for non-commercial
use in schools and other educational establishments in Scotland
providing the Anti-Bullying Network is credited.